How You Can Help
For decades, USAID has been a leader in the control and prevention of infectious diseases. Today, USAID-funded programs are pivotal in the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, pandemic influenza and other emerging threats – and the Agency is prepared to work with other partners in the U.S. government and elsewhere to transform the current threat in West Africa into another story of resilience in the face infectious disease. Below are resources to help:
Recognizing that diseases such as Ebola, H5N1 and H7N9 avian influenzas, and MERS and SARS Coronaviruses periodically spill over from animals to cause outbreaks (and sometimes pandemics) in humans, USAID invested a total of $1 billion since 2005, including $72.5 million in FY14, in its Emerging and Pandemic Threats program that is strengthening the capacity of 18 countries in Africa and Asia to more-quickly and effectively detect and respond to viral threats, including Ebola. The program is testing samples from more than 21,000 animals and USAID has identified over 500 new viruses related to ones known to cause disease in animals and people. This program grew out of USAID’s initial response to H5N1 avian influenza in 2005 and is working to identify interventions to reduce the risk of the animal viruses spilling over and spreading in human populations. The strategy of preventing human infectious with animal viruses by reducing viral spread in animals has been very successful for H5N1 avian influenza.
We are appealing to the medical community in the United States for assistance with the West Africa Ebola Outbreak. If you are a qualified medical professional and want to volunteer to work in West Africa, click here to contact reputable organizations who are active in the Ebola response through our database for self-selecting, non-vetted medical volunteers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has organized a training course for licensed clinicians deploying to work in an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Africa. The purpose of the course, held in Anniston, Alabama, is to ensure that clinicians have sufficient knowledge of the disease and its transmission routes to work safely and efficiently in a well-designed ETU, after further mentoring in west Africa. The course includes lectures, tabletop exercises, and practical exercises in a mock ETU while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
What is Needed to Help People Affected by Ebola
On September 16, 2014, the United Nations and humanitarian partners launched its new Overview of needs and requirements for the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. The plan outlines needs and responses required by governments, United Nations agencies, and key partners in the response, as well as the funds required to do this. It covers activities in the 3 most-affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) for a period of 6 months. It also gives those new to disaster response a view into what an official needs assessment looks like.
The consolidated Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Overview of Needs and Requirements is available on the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ website here.
The World Health Organization Ebola Response Roadmap
This site provides an overview of response operations, funding and resource requirements, and will be updated regularly.
The portal presents a consolidated view of the estimated US$490 million global resources required over the next six months – by national governments, WHO, some UN agencies and other partners – for the health response to stop Ebola transmission.
This initial release of the portal also presents WHO’s confirmed and available funding against each of the above categories. WHO is working with the World Bank and financing partners to develop and present a consolidated, and more detailed, picture of available resources by roadmap objective, programme area and by country.
The link to the portal is here.
Since December 2013, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone have reported more than 1,600 confirmed cases. New cases continue to be recorded indicating that the outbreak – which has an overall fatality rate of 55%– has not been contained.
The spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone is also a reminder of the vast development needs that persist in some of the region’s poorest countries despite rapid economic growth and investment. As a development agency, USAID is very concerned about the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa – and its potential for expansion – because of the health, economic, and social impacts this disease is having in the affected countries. We are guided by our Agency’s mission statement – we partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity – in our efforts to support countries’ efforts to build their resilience to this threat.
On August 4, the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia declared a disaster due to the effects of the Ebola outbreak. In response, USAID has activated a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). The DART, comprising team members in Monrovia, Liberia, and Conakry, Guinea, will coordinate planning, operations, logistics, administrative issues, and other critical areas of the interagency response. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will staff public health and medical response positions on the DART.
USAID CIDI: USAID created the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) in 1988 one month after Hurricane Gilbert made landfall as a Category 5 storm that affected 10 countries. An outpouring of unsolicited donations took up space needed to stage and deliver life-saving relief supplies, and USAID and other responders spent valuable time managing unneeded clothing, expired medicine, and other non-critical items. USAID established the Center to educate the public about the advantages of giving monetary donations to relief organizations and the downside of donating unsolicited material goods.
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